Czech parties seek coalition agreement, but gay marriage and euro adoption are sticking points

Gay marriage, adoption of the euro currency, and how ministries will be divided all remain contentious issues between the parties seeking to form a coalition government in Czechia

editor: REMIX NEWS
author: Martin Ťopek, Michaela Ryšavá
Leader of center-right Spolu (Together) coalition Petr Fiala, right, talks to co-leader of center-left coalition of Pirates and STAN Vit Rakusan during the last debates at the public radio before the poll stations opened for the parliamentary election in Prague, Czech Republic, Friday, Oct. 8, 2021. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

Our parties agree on most points, stated the representatives of the SPOLU (Together) and PirSTAN coalitions on Tuesday, claiming that they had found common ground about the goals of the future government and, therefore, expect to sign a coalition agreement next week. However, there may be areas where there are differences, and it is not clear how close the negotiating teams are to coming to an agreement.

None of the five parties of the future government wants to officially comment on the divisive topics. However, one of the members of the negotiating team said that it was impossible to find an agreement, for example, on gay rights.

“Marriage is not addressed in the program statement at all,” he said.

There is also a dispute about the dismissal of the public prosecutor, as the Pirates and Mayors and Independents (PirSTAN) coalition demands that he should be dismissed only based on disciplinary proceedings. But the SPOLU coalition refuses this. A debate will also continue, for example, on a new definition of rape, added the member of the negotiating team.

Another source said that in addition to the public prosecutor’s dismissal, there were also disagreements about possible preparations for the adoption of the euro currency or about expanding competition among telecommunications companies.

Members of the parties’ negotiating teams also refuse to comment on any details about the possible assigning of ministries and who might stand at their head. The chairman of the Civic Democrats (ODS) and the candidate of the emerging government coalition for prime minister, Petr Fiala, has repeatedly said that it is still premature to talk about the structure of the government. According to Fiala, the ministries have not yet been divided between the two coalitions, let alone between the individual parties.

“By no means are we debating the creation of a new office or a new ministry,” added Fiala.

At the same time, he said he was considering creating posts of a minister for European affairs and digitization. However, according to Fiala, these would not be traditional full-fledged ministries.

A special group of party experts will meet next week, working on the formulation of a coalition agreement. SPOLU and PirSTAN want to have a coalition agreement ready next week, which the individual parties would then have to approve.

All this is happening without Fiala, as a candidate for prime minister, having the mandate from President Miloš Zeman to create a government. Zeman is in the Central Military Hospital in Prague for the third week. Fiala should meet with the president when he is moved from the intensive care unit to a standard room. At the same time, Fiala is waiting for the head of state to personally invite him to visit.

However, the president’s state of health forced both chambers of parliament to consider temporarily removing powers from the head of state under Article 66 of the Czech constitution, but this will not happen until Nov. 8, when the newly elected Chamber of Deputies will meet for the first time.

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